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Elite athletes go the extra mile for our seas – and want you to join them

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 03, 2012

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott in the canoe slalom, above, and with their gold medals, left. Right: Ocean rower Sarah Outen

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott in the canoe slalom, above, and with their gold medals, left. Right: Ocean rower Sarah Outen

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Olympic gold canoeists Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott will be among a number of elite athletes to take part in a large-scale sporting even in Westcountry waters next weekend.

The two sportsmen, who won Britain's first ever canoe slalom gold this year, will be among a number of sporting champions to take part in the Ecover Blue Mile, in Plymouth Sound next Saturday and Sunday.

They will join double Olympic gold rowing medallist Andrew Triggs-Hodge and ocean rower Sarah Outen, as well as hundreds of people swimming, kayaking, paddling or walking around a mile-long course, to raise funds for wildlife charity WWF.

The two canoeists and the rower will take part in the kayak event on Saturday, while Ms Outen, the first and youngest female to row the Indian Ocean, will take on the "aquatriathlon", meaning she'll swim, stand-up paddle and kayak her way to the finish.

Tim Baillie and crewmate Etienne Stott said they hoped their presence would encourage more people to take part and get active on the water, as well as raising the profile of the charity. They said: "Our sport is totally dependent on having access to clean water and the Ecover Blue Mile is a perfect way to highlight the two issues. We hope lots of people will come along and support it."

Andrew Triggs-Hodge said: "The Ecover Blue Mile is the perfect way for us to engage with our blue environments, from our oceans to our rivers and lakes.

"WWF does fantastic work safeguarding these habitats and protecting the species that depend on them. Through this event we can not only begin to appreciate the watery world around us, but also support WWF's vital work through fundraising. And even better, it gives us the perfect excuse to get fit this summer and do something active with friends and family."

Sarah Outen said she was looking forward to the event. She said: "We all have a part to play in protecting the world's water and it's great that the Blue Mile is helping to inspire this action and awareness."

To take part in the event, register at www.thebluemile. org. To watch the athletes in action, go to Plymouth's Mayflower Steps from 4pm on Saturday. The Event Village, which will feature a wide range of activities to engage people with the marine environment, will be open from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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